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Story Time

Where do stories start? Do they start on a dusty path in the silence of the wind? Or do they start with a 5 year old girl who hears the story of Dr. Livingstone for the first time and says, "I want to do that someday."? Either way, the stories inside of our hearts start somewhere.

This past week I found myself at a crossroad type feeling, even though, in the moment, there was only one way ahead. We were walking through the Colca Canyon, on an MMI trip that traveled from one rural pueblo to another, doing health clinics, and giving away toothbrushes. During those two weeks something deep was stirring in my heart, the opportunity "the call" (if you like) to surrender myself.

That morning my friend Vicente shared a devotional and I translated. He talked about how he, when he was a young Christian, had said "God I give you my life." And then proceeded to live his life exactly as he wanted. Five years later, on bed rest for a work related back injury, he realized that saying "I give you my life" means that God can do with it what He will. It is not about doing what we want. His story was simple and impacting, a story of a man who realized that all he truly had to offer was himself. And later I found myself with 2 hours alone, walking on a mule path, looking over the view of the canyon, with only one way to go but at a fork in the road in my heart.

The problem is that I have two dreams, two ways that I would write my own story. One part of me would love to have a home, a husband, an oven to bake in, and some ground where I could plant my own vegetables. Oh, and children. Did I mention children? There are times when I almost cry from the longing of holding a baby, of having their head snuggle into my collar bone. But then, I remember back to when, at 5 years old, I felt my heart rate pick up at the sound of the word "Africa." I remember playing soccer in the red dirt of Piratininga. I sit with one of my Peruvian friends and speak in Spanish and I feel like it fits. There is a sense of right. Ministry like this is my dream too. And being here in Peru has only strengthened that dream. Here we try to share real Hope with people, we touch their bodies with medicine and explain that the soul and body are one. The generalized pain they feel is related to what is happening at home. Sometimes we see souls changed, bodies healed, tears shed and Love spread like a contagion.

Being in Peru for six months has been a low hurdle. I live with a family, people take care of me, and I have a clear date of when I am going home. It has all been such an adventure. But what happens if/when I do this again and it is hard, if/when I have no more easy internet access or netflix, if/when I am half a world away from the shoulders I like to cry on? Can I still surrender my life then? And what about the dream of a home, husband, oven and ground? Is there a guarantee that it will happen?

I was walking through the canyon, carrying a rock (like I always do when I'm upset about something) and turning these thoughts over and over inside of my heart. The wind whistled through the air and then was silent, heavy grey clouds filled the sky and covered the mountains in front and behind me, and a condor drifting slowly up and disappeared behind the folds of the hills.

And I had a conversation with God that went something like this:

God, I want to give you my life for reals. (I sometimes talk like a poser gansta to God. He doesn't mind)

No, but really God, I want to give you my life, even if that means being far from home, from those I love.

Can we just make a deal God? Could we just give it a time period? Like 10 years. That's a long time. We could get a lot done in 10 years. Then can I have my other dream too? You know the one I mean.

At this point I was reminded that I have been reading the book of Job and nobody gets to tell God how to run the universe; "Where were you when I placed the foundations of the earth?" And all that jazz.

Ok God, you're right. You are God and I am not. If I give you my life, I give you my life to do with it what you will.

Dammit, I don't want to do that. That is so much more difficult.

A swallow flies by me, and I'm squeezing the rock so hard it digs into my hands. I feel like laying down on the path and just staying there and crying in the dust. And finally.

God, I give you my life and I will try not to take it back from you.

That's it. That's all I could say and really truly mean it. You would think a "missionary" would be better at surrendering. But, I have never called myself a missionary. I'm just a girl who picks her boogers and really likes to travel.

But after I gave my begrudging "yes" to God the clouds over the mountains parted and sunlight streamed down onto fresh powdered sugar snow. On the scale of epic mountains, I felt like I was in the Alps. And I thought to myself, "It is a good thing to say yes to the God who made those mountains."

I felt two things; Peace, and the beginning of a story that is not written by me.


  1. AHH this is so inspiring my sister. i feel the same way. that is such a good prayer: "God, I give you my life and I will try not to take it back from you." thank you for forever letting god use you to love, serve, help, and inspire. i love you!

  2. Thanks pretty lady. Love you too. Keep on living out your compassion. Can't wait to catch up on life with you.


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